Why Stephen Glass fabricated (It was his parents’ fault)

Jack Shafer thoroughly reviews court documents filed as part of Stephen Glass’ attempt to be approved by the California Bar so he can practice law there. Judge Richard A. Honn ruled in Glass’ favor in 2010, and in his ruling explained the origins of Glass’ fabrications: His parents pressured him to succeed, hoped he’d go to medical school and disapproved of his journalism career. After a visit home in 1995, Glass “felt he had to find a way around this problem,” the judge writes.

He decided to create articles with “electricity” and excitement that even his parents would appreciate. To do so, he felt he needed to “embellish” the facts. Shortly thereafter, he wrote “The Hall Monitor,” his first article that contained fabrications. Applicant was clearly a gifted writer and was on a steep trajectory toward success in journalism. However, with that article a dark cloud began growing which would completely destroy his promising career in that field.

The California Supreme Court’s decision will hinge on whether or not they believe Glass is morally fit. Shafer thinks not and suspects the court will rule against Glass.

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  • Anonymous

    Ha! Yep. Well, he was pre-med, then went to law school, as the Shafer piece notes. Never went to post-grad J school. Maybe never even took a journalism class at all. I missed that aspect. But it makes this little buzzword-laden bleat of Rick Zalon’s, perhaps aping some of Breitbart’s addled thinking, even funnier. 

    Little things like facts don’t ever keep Rick Zalon — or his kind — from fatuously making fools of themselves. What are you doing here anyway, Rick? For one thing, you’re an accountant, so what’s with the journalist fetish? And also, isn’t the War on Christmas heating up right now? Shouldn’t you be on duty?

  • Anonymous

    Was Glass even a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School? IIRC, he was pre-law.

  • Anonymous

    Examples, please, of journalism schools teaching or promoting the application of post-modernist/post-structuralist theory to mainstream news reporting, and promulgating the idea that journalists can make stuff up in the pursuit of “greater truths.”

    You can’t really read this crackpot stuff back to yourself and then nod your head and say with satisfaction and pride, “Yeah, that’s it” — can you? Do you see the irony of making stuff up in order to assail the idea of stuff being made up? You must — mustn’t you?

  • Anonymous

    Stephen Glass merely took the fashionable post-modern/post-structuralist dogma regarding “greater truths” he learned in J school to fashion narratives that played into the prejudices and ignorance of his politically progressive editors. I predict that he will be an outstanding litigator.